Kyler Murray: Building Block or Bust? Fixing the Arizona Cardinals With and Without the QB
To continue our series on fixing the worst teams in the NFL, we turn our attention to the Arizona Cardinals. Sitting at 1-7 at the halfway point of the season, the Cardinals would have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft if the season ended today.
But that’s not all.
The Cardinals are flush with draft capital thanks to the 2023 draft day trade that saw them move back from No. 3 overall with the Houston Texans. That pick netted the Cardinals an extra first-rounder in 2024—currently slotted at No. 11 overall, from Houston.
The draft capital and expected $63 million in cap space will have the Cardinals as one of the teams to watch in the upcoming offseason. The record might say 1-7, but this is a feisty, competitive team that’s playing good football…the roster just lacks a few pieces.
The biggest question will come at quarterback. Franchise player Kyler Murray is close to returning from a 2023 torn ACL and people inside the building are saying all the right things about Kyler as the team’s quarterback of the future. And they almost have to given his five-year, $230.5 million extension that was signed last offseason.
Can the Cardinals move on from Murray? Should the Cardinals move on from Murray? Those are the two most important questions for general manager Monti Ossenfort and head coach Jonathan Gannon. So we’ll look at both options: a Cardinals dream draft with Murray returning as quarterback and a Cardinals dream draft with Murray being moved for future assets.
Let’s get into it.
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With or without Murray returning as the Cardinals’ starting quarterback in 2024, the top of the draft is fairly easy to predict for Arizona. The passing attack right now is weak, and that’s not just because Murray is out with an injury. The Cardinals lack a real WR1 and despite many efforts by the previous regime to fill that void, it’s a gaping hole right now. That’ll especially be the case if Marquise “Hollywood” Brown leaves in free agency this summer or if he’s traded at the deadline today. But even if Brown returns, the wide receiver room needs work.
Outside of wideout, needs on this roster are obvious on the interior offensive line and throughout the defense as the team transitions from a 4-3 to a 3-4 base squad. Gannon has coached up the talent level on defense, but adding more talent is paramount to the growth of the team.
Key additions must come at pass-rusher and cornerback—whether that’s in free agent spending or the NFL draft.
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